Let's take a moment to appreciate the Golden Age of King Push that was 2018. From DAYTONA to the Drake beef to a GRAMMY nomination, Pusha truly left a mark in recent hip hop history, fully transitioning from Clipse into a fierce middle-aged solo rapper thirsty for blood and vengeance! With Kanye playing a major contributing role, DAYTONA is an excellent combination of brutal delivery and stupendous production!
It's times like this when I take a look back at DAYTONA, the events following its release: the kickstarting of the GOOD MUSIC 2018 albums and the brutal Drake "you are hiding a child" beef, that I realize just how essential this album was. As I look into the near-future, I can only imagine the momentum of Daytona will stick around for the next decade. The wounds that this album sliced open will not fully recover, and we are strapped in to see just how far the downward spiral goes.
Our first ever taste of this album was from the controversy surrounding Whitney Houston's "drug paraphernalia-littered bathroom" artwork that Kanye paid for and threw in at the last second (cause, y'know, he's KANYE). It had been surfing around the public eye since Houston's death in 2012. Although done in poor taste, it paints a very clear image of the concept and atmosphere of DAYTONA. Houston's bathroom picture displays a star's life spiraling into chaos, a concerning drug addiction that ultimately led to her fate one night in a bathtub. The cover itself is covered in a reddish, blood-like color taint on its borders and it makes the context behind the image fairly more chilling.
And that's the mood of this album. While on the surface level, it's a pretty straightforward hardcore hip hop record with incredible bangers, the digger you dive down, the darker and more distorted the image gets. DAYTONA is often dark, violent, vicious, with lyricism highlighting Push's drug life (crack/cocaine), themes of crime and of course, baiting Drake into a rap beef he was unprepared for. This album knows it's intimidating, like a predator waiting to feast on its vulnerable prey. It takes full advantage of its skill and superiority to create an "all-killer, no filler" hard-hitting rap album.
I consistently return to songs like "The Games We Play", "If You Know You Know" and "Infared". It's really interesting seeing this record for what it is knowing all the shit that gone down following its release. Infared in particular seems so much more brutal knowing Drake's crushing defeat after The Story of Adidon. The weakest part of this album though is, ironically, Kanye. His verse really felt phoned in on "What Will Meek Do?" and the song itself seems more like a buildup for Pusha to deliver a more satisfying final blow with Infared.
Overall, DAYTONA is simply a fantastic essential hip hop record, nothing less, nothing more. Plus, if you pay close attention, you'll get some pretty good life advice straight from King Push's mouth...
"Never trust a bitch who finds love in a camera
She will fuck you, then turn around and fuck a janitor."
Spittin' facts right there.
FAV TRACKS: The Games We Play, If You Know You Know, Hard Piano, Infared
LEAST FAV TRACK: What Would Meek Do?